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New CCS Plan Moves Dominion Middle And Expands Language Schools

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After shelving the bulk of school realignment recommendations made last November by a volunteer task force, the Columbus Board of Education moved rapidly last night to alleviate crowding and address a gap in the language program feeder system – just ahead of the district’s school lottery deadline next week. 

Alison Holm has details.  

When the school board voted to delay implementation of the Task Force recommendations last year, it seemed like momentum had petered out. But a steady stream of parents and staff continued to lobby the board, and Tuesday that seemed to pay off, with an elaborate plan involving six schools. Interim superintendent John Stanford says the plan – which was unveiled in the afternoon and approved unanimously a few hours later – was designed to retain students and their parents in some of the district popular programs.

 

“The sense of urgency is that we heard from the parents that they have to make decisions for the lottery system next week, and the lottery process. And that, they couldn’t make those decisions, because we weren’t making decisions on the options, or the recommendations, from the task force.”

 

The first step in the plan is a “one-time one-year only” expansion of the district’s three intensive language programs – Spanish Immersion, Ecole Kenwood, and Hubbard Mastery. Current sixth graders will stay for the seventh grade for the 2019-2020 school year. This means parents of sixth graders won’t have to enter the school lottery process next week.

 

At the same time, Columbus North International, a 7 through 12th grade school, will leave its North High School home for the former Brookhaven High School, to join the 6th through 12th grade Columbus Global Academy. Stanford says over the next few years Columbus North International will become a 9th through 12th grade program.

 

“And starting immediately we will also begin the process of creating work groups to work on this idea of an immersion middle school program and an immersion high school program at North International.”

 

By the middle of the 2019-2020 school year, the over-capacity Dominion Middle School program will move into the North High School building on East Arcadia Avenue. The move will reduce over-crowding and Dominion, and end fears the district will peel off elementary schools that feed into Dominion, creating a Clintonville-only feeder pattern.

 

While Tuesday’s vote addresses concerns of Dominion and language immersion schools parents, it doesn’t pick up on other task force recommendations, including a new home for the Columbus Alternative High School. But Stanford says – that is also in the works.

 

“What we have been working on since November is identifying other potential alternative sites. We’re still in the infancy stages of that research that we’re doing, but we’re getting closer to the point where we’ll be able to reach back out to the parents and the students and faculty at CAHS”

 

District officials say plans are already being made for needed maintenance at Brookhaven, North, and the soon to be former Dominion.

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